Book review: Fever House by Keith Rosson

Book review: Fever House by Keith Rosson

 

Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Keith Rosson is the author of the novels Fever House, Smoke City, Road Seven, and The Mercy of the Tide as well as the Shirley Jackson Award-winning story collection Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his partner and their two children.

Publisher: Random House (Aug 15, 2023) Length: 448 pages Formats: audiobook, ebook, paperback 

Fever House opens with two leg-breakers, Tim Reed and Hutch Holtz, doing their rounds, collecting money for their boss. Initially, you get the noirish vibe but once they find a peculiar artifact in the freezer of one of their “debtors”, all hell breaks loose.
The object in question? A severed hand that makes people around it mad and violent, filled with the urge to hurt, bite, and rend. Of course, the government is involved; it’s all a part of a potentially world-breaking conspiracy. Once the action hits the ground running, it never stops. The story is as propulsive as possible.
Fever House is structured around multiple point-of-view characters and the narrative switches off between them as the plot moves forward. I like multi-POV books, and I think Rosson has done a stellar job of making each character multidimensional and intriguing. Other than showing various perspectives, it allows the book to move fast – it has a fresh sense of mobility and non-stop action.
Anyway, as the hand changes hands (:P), we meet new characters, learn about their backstories, and see them run for their lives. Those include a disgraced undercover agent, a mutilated angel, a hyper-ambitious field agent, a former rock star, and more. If this makes you wonder if it’s not overstuffed with characters, it isn’t. Not in my opinion. 
The action is kinetic and moves fast, and each vignette builds on the previous one and allows to create a full picture of the apocalyptic scenario. One element I need to mention and that I loved to bits included interstitial material such as top-secret memos and transcripts from interviews with Saint Michael that provide insight into the powerful forces at play.
Additional points for the way Rosson handles family drama and relations balancing them with kinetic action, splatterpunk elements, and grit. A word of caution: the explosive, somewhat rushed climax suddenly stops and the story ends on a cliffhanger. The good news is the sequel is written (I think) and scheduled to hit the shelves in 2024.
Fever House is a kinetic horror with cinematic scope and pacing, excellent characterization, and top-tier writing. It’s a wild, brutal ride, and it gets my highest recommendation.

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